Workshop! (and other miscellany memories)

I had the pleasure of attending a photography workshop this weekend. Looking back, it's hard to believe I've had my camera for about 54 weeks (but who's counting, right?).

In the beginning, I took over my husband's camera. On our first date. Then again on our second date... and the trend continued. (He's a long-suffering man. Love you hon!) This camera was awesome: great pictures and it survived my tender loving care. I tend to be... difficult on my belongings. The Olympus Stylus 1030SW. Shock proof, water proof, everything to warm the cockles of my heart. It trooped along with us in my purse to family gatherings, happy hours, birthdays, trips out of state... but as time went on, I came to the realization that I needed... more. More control. What finally pushed me over the edge was bokeh. I wanted it. I wanted it badly. And this lil' trooper just couldn't give me what I wanted.

So. After much researching... and asking... and trying... and finally listening to my gut... I did it. I ordered the camera. We got a great deal, including the camera body, kit lens, camera bag, and a DVD. I set out immediately to figure out how to get that gorgeous, dreamy background I’d been lusting after.

Quickly realizing that my manual was technically accurate, but not the best teaching tool for my brain, I set myself up with a couple of Dummies books. Don’t hate. They’re awesome. After that, I took a workshop with Wilson Camera here in Phoenix (thanks, guys!). Rented some lenses from and pestered the employees of Tempe Camera (thanks to you too!). Cozened friends into walking around downtown Phoenix with me so I could capture some architecture (you know who you are). Convincing my husband to drive out to the Superstition Mountains at dawn-o’clock to get some great scenery (long-suffering, remember?). You get the idea. If I was somewhere, so was my camera.

I finally ran out of room with “teach yourself from a book” learning. I needed some actual teaching. A digital photography class at MCC was a perfect fit. For the first time in over five years, I was back on a college campus, cramming a nighttime course in after work. I landed in a class with Liz Allen (from ASU’s Northlight Gallery) as instructor, and met some amazing photographers like Danny and Chandra along the way. Chandra was good enough to take our 2011 family photos - and we had a great time! It was fun getting a chance to be in front of the camera for a change. 

With all my practice, I've gotten an opportunity to shoot portraits and sessions with family and friends. These just make me want to be better. Learn more. Love photography harder. Which leads me to this weekend! 

A workshop with Okello Dunkley was just the ticket. He was organized, clear, concise, well-prepared and clearly a professional. Thank you, Okello, for coming to Phoenix and also offering a deal on Living Social!  ;) 

The most exciting thing? Learning about single point focusing, and how to adjust it while shooting. The most frustrating? He fixed my external flash with a touch (who knows what he did!?), and then it started doing the same ridiculous-ness at my shoot this evening. (This Speedlight is my challenge.) The bestest part? Connecting with other photographers, like Alan and Nadine. Can't say enough good things about the workshop. I guess that means I should just stop. 
Alexlearning, weekendComment